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Lemon Meringue Pie – this recipe is a family favorite! It’s an easy pie recipe with homemade lemon filling and sweet meringue. This is a family recipe – my Aunt Tootsie made it for years – and now the recipe is mine to share. You’re going to love it!

slice of lemon pie on blue plate


Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe that always works!

When I was a kid (and even still), whenever pie is mentioned around my dad, he brings up my Great Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie. He talks about how the crust was amazing and the filling was so smooth and perfect. A few years ago, I got an envelope full of hand written recipes and newspaper clippings that had been shoved in my Nana’s recipe book. One of them was for my Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie!

Making Lemon Meringue Pie seems like an involved process, and it can be, but it’s worth it. I would give it a medium on the scale of easy to hard, but this recipe is easy to follow and while it has some moving parts, it’s totally attainable if you follow my recipe and tips below.

butter pie crust in a clear pan.

Lemon Meringue Pie Crust

  • Make a perfect crust: One of the ways to make this pie much easier is to use a pre-made crust. I love my all butter crust recipe but in a pinch or when I’m making an already involved recipe, I’ll start with a pre-made crust.
  • Cook it properly: Make sure to partially pre-bake the crust. You’re going to bake the pie, but at a low temperature just to set the meringue, so the pie crust must be almost fully cooked. This is called par-baking or blind baking and it’s easy to do.

How to Blind Bake the Crust

To blind bake your crust, you’re going to put it in the 9-inch pie plate and line it with parchment paper. Then fill the pie with beans or pie weights and bake it at 425°F. The time it takes to bake your crust depends on the recipe you’re using.

If you are using my pie crust recipe, then you’ll blind bake it through the first baking step in my blind bake tutorial. If you’re using a Pillsbury crust, it will only take about 10 minutes total.

ingredients in lemon meringue pie.

Filling Ingredients

The lemon filling for the lemon meringue pie is an easy lemon curd recipe. It’s cooked on the stove, thickened then strained into the baked pie shell.

  • Cornstarch – this aids in thickening the lemon curd
  • Egg Yolks – the egg yolks are the body of the custard. Use large eggs that are room temperature.
  • Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice – the zest is where most of the lemon flavor comes from and the juice should be fresh lemon juice!

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

How to make Lemon Meringue Pie

  • Make sure you have all your ingredients assembled and ready. Whisk your egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Whisk the filling ingredients together in your saucepan, cooking over medium heat, stirring often (like you’re making pudding), until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
  • Pour a bit of the lemon mixture into the beaten eggs whisking constantly. Then pour the entire egg mixture into the lemon mixture while whisking.
  • Keep cooking for 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in some butter and then your mixture will be ready.
  • I always strain my filling just in case little pieces of egg have cooked.
  • Place the filling in the pie crust and immediately make the meringue. You don’t want the pie to cool too much before adding the meringue and baking the pie. The heat from the filling will make the meringue “cook” to the top of the pie.

What is tempering eggs?

A scary part about making a lemon curd like this is tempering the egg yolks.

Tempering eggs is just a fancy way of saying that you’re getting them ready to put in the hot custard mixture. If you just pour them into the hot lemon mixture, they’ll scramble (ew) so we have to do it slowly.

Pour a bit of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly. Then you can continue making your filling without worrying about scrambled eggs.

lemon pie in clear pie plate with meringue on top.

How to make Meringue

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie has a fluffy sweet meringue on top of the lemon filling. This kind of meringue is made by beating egg whites with sugar and then baking on top of the pie and it’s like eating sweet clouds.

  1. Make sure there are NO egg yolks in your whites. When separating your eggs, err on the side of white-in-yolk but not yolk-in-white if that makes sense. Egg whites don’t whip right if they have the fat from the yolk in them.
  2. Cream of tartar is a crucial ingredient in getting the stiff and stable peaks for the egg whites.
  3. You’ll beat the egg whites until soft peaks form before adding the sugar. Soft peaks means that the egg whites are fluffy, but the peaks will just start to hold if you turn the whisk upside down.
  4. Once you add the sugar and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, you’ll see they are glossy and the peaks hold their shape.
  5. Add the meringue on top of the still-hot filling of the pie and swirl the tops into pretty peaks. Make sure to completely seal the meringue to the pie crust edges. Leave NO gaps to avoid weeping. Bake the pie, then completely cool before slicing.

Avoid a weepy lemon meringue pie

  • Make sure to make the meringue immediately after making the filling and top the pie while the filling is still hot.
  • Make sure to seal the edges of the meringue to the pie crust – no gaps.
  • Don’t over bake the meringue.
  • Make sure that, when you’re mixing your egg whites, you mix on low while you’re adding the sugar, which will ensure the sugar gets dissolved properly.
  • Don’t make meringue pies on high humidity days.

If you don’t like this kind of meringue topping, you can use my marshmallow meringue frosting instead. In that case, completely blind bake the pie crust, add the filling, let it cool, then top it with that frosting and torch the tops.

one slice of pie on a blue plate with meringue on top.

FAQs

How long does lemon meringue pie last?

Meringue will deflate and get a bit weepy after a day so it is recommended that you make your pie the same day it’s going be eaten. There is lots of chill time involved so make sure to plan accordingly.

slice of lemon pie on blue plate

Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

4.24 from 147 votes
Aunt Tootsie’s Lemon Meringue Pie – this recipe is a family favorite! It’s an easy pie recipe with homemade lemon filling and meringue. Everyone loves it!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 12 servings
Serving Size 1 slice

Ingredients
 

For the filling:

  • 1 All Butter Pie Crust pre-baked and cooled (or a pre-made crust from a pack of two or frozen)
  • 1 ½ cups (355ml) water
  • 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (40g) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (118ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs yolks
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) unsalted butter

For the meringue:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Place crust in 9-inch pie plate.
  • Partially blind bake the crust: poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights (dried rice and lentils work too). If you're using my pie crust recipe, bake about 20 minutes, checking that the crust is browned (but the bottom won't be completely done yet, that's ok). If you're using a Pillsbury crust, it'll only take about 10 minutes to partially bake. Carefully remove parchment and pie weights.
  • Lower oven temperature to 300°F.
  • Whisk water, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until it’s thick and bubbly.
  • Place egg yolks into a medium sized bowl. Whisk them gently. Once the lemon mixture is thick and bubbly, carefully pour about half the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then place the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining lemon mixture, continuing to whisk. You want to avoid scrambling the eggs. Bring to a gentle boil, then cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted.
  • Strain the mixture to remove any bits of egg. Pour mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap while you prepare the meringue and keep it hot (the meringue needs to go onto hot filling).
  • Place egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or you can use a large bowl with a hand mixer). Beat on high speed until soft peaks form (if you remove the beaters the tips curl slightly) and then continue mixing while gradually adding the granulated sugar. Continue mixing until stiff peaks form (they’ll be glossy and stand straight).
  • Spread the meringue on the top of the lemon mixture in decorative peaks, being sure that the meringue touches the crust and no lemon shows through. Bake about 30 minutes or until the meringue is browned. Cool at room temperature for one hour, then chill at least 5 hours before slicing.
  • The pie will last a day or two in the refrigerator but tastes better day one.

Recipe Video

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 46g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

This simple Lemon Meringue Pie is the best! One of our family favorites – made the old fashioned way with a creamy lemon filling and meringue on top! I’ll show you step by step with photos and video just how easy it is to make this homemade pie!

Favorite Pie Recipes

Last Updated on November 1, 2023



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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137 Comments

  1. This is a terrific recipe. I’ve made it a few times already and it is always stunning and delicious.

    If ever there was a case to be made for “mis-en-place”, getting EVERYTHING ready before cooking, including equipment, this is it. If you do this, the recipe is also fool-proof.

    I have made a couple of very minor modifications that I offer.

    (1) Simple syrup lightly brushed over the just blind-baked pie shell helps keep the crust from getting soggy.

    (2) If you have Clear-Jel (cook type), you can substitute that for the corn starch. Clear-Jel is both heat and acid-stable and tasteless. It makes a more stable lemon curd. If you make pies and don’t have this ingredient, consider getting it to up your bake.

  2. I’ve used the same recipe for decades but lost it this year. I looked for one that seemed familiar and tried this one. I got rave reviews. Even the family members who dislike meringue liked it. I forgot the butter until I put the pie in the shell so I had to carefully stir it is but it wasn’t an issue. The meringue turned out the best — ever! I have never baked my meringue for this long but it was worth it. I had bake it an extra 10 minutes and turn the oven up to 350 for that 10 to get it to brown the way I wanted. I would do the same thing again — bake at 300 and then turn it up. For the first time, my pie didn’t shrink from the edges & there was so little weeping, several people commented.

  3. This was so intimidating, but recipe and notes written very clear. It worked and it will make a perfect dessert for our anniversary tomorrow! Thank you!!! It’s a keeper!!

  4. Made the lemon and it taste yummy. I also made your pie crust (also yummy). I have a note to self; I had just finished putting the topping on and looked to the left and thought why is this butter here, well duh because you didn’t put it in the filling. Still going to be good.